The 2007 Squamish Mountain Festival Recap

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The massive Squamsih Chief.

The massive Squamsih Chief.

There was something for everyone and every component of the festival brought out both the regulars, and newcomers. Opening night, which sold out, had Perry Beckham portray the highlights and early accomplishments of the small, dedicated, and ambitious, dirt bag climbing community, which prospered during the 70s and 80s. Perry showed the dramatic changes between climbers and climbing culture, then, and now. Ron Kauk then took over and captivated the audience with his slides, and a movie, that depicted his Zen like philosophies on climbing life, and revealed the smooth, effortless climbing style, that has made him a legend.

On Saturday July 14th the Elks Club put on a pancake breakfast. The smell of sausages, eggs, and maple syrup brought people out of the woodworks early in the a.m. to check out the sponsor trade fair and get ready for the clinics put on that day. The Clinics, put on by celebrated local guides and athletes, departed for the smoke bluffs. The keen Flashed Boulder comp participants tried to hone their skills for the comp being held, next day, Sunday. As the sun started to descend over the Howe Sound, climbers made their way back from a fun day out, and joined Prana for the free Yoga session's put on in front of the Squamish Adventure Centre. That night Josune Bereziartu and Ines Papert were on hand from Europe to present at the Eagle Eye Theatre. Both women represent the best of the best in world climbing. They have both pioneered new standards in their perspective focuses, and both gave amazing slide shows about their globetrotting climber's lives and accomplishments.

Clinics, pancakes and the trade fair were again the staples on Sunday but the main event was the Flashed Dyno Comp. Walson Tai from Flashed had his colleagues build a perfect bouldering/dyno comp wall for the event. Tunes rocking in the background and the vibe of a buzzing nightclub inspired boulderers to fling themselves as high as they could for the coveted Dyno comp bragging rights. A Guinness World Dyno Record was the goal of the event. Visiting Swiss climber, Lavinia, crushed the current women's record of 1.9m by springing well over her height and latching the 2.1m mark. That's 6 foot 9! The men's event did not have a broken world record however one of the competitors did manage to tear the finishing hold off the wall in hopes of stopping the competition. After some repairs by Walson and his team the men were back at it, and in typical Swiss perfection, Lavinia's cohort clinched the win with a solid 2.4m leap.

The clinics were almost sold out. "I was surprised how many clinics we actually sold," said Hughes, pointing to the weather. "I think that fact came down to the caliber of the guides that we had doing the clinics. Ines Papert, she did a clinic on bouldering. Scott Milton did one, and Sean Isaac. And then the locals like: Chris Geisler, Matt Maddaloni, Brian Gould, Chris Lawrence, Roger Sarrasin...the local rock jocks" were all on hand sharing their secrets. There was a wide variety of films shown over the entire week. A diverse selection of themes featuring everything from Paragliding, base jumping, snowboarding and of course all facets of climbing. Congratulations and thanks to all whom sent in a film. There were so many great films and deciding on the winners was a very tough job.

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The awards went out to:

Best Overall:First Ascent "It's got it all, Compelling characters and gripping drama driven by great direction and technical excellence."

Best Climbing Film:E11 "Great story; great action; great humor. This film has all the elements of a classic climbing movie."

Best Canadian Mountain Film:Yes to the No "New twist on an old sport. Original thinking made for a great entertaining and motivating short film."

Best Mountain Adventure Film:Asiemut "A classic Homeric journey story that travels over grueling terrain and through inner turmoil. Storytelling at its best. Culturally and geographically interesting with an extreme human endurance factor."

There was a buzz in the air around Wednesday night's Climbing Photo Showdown whereby we invited five of the West Coasts best climbing photographers to show off their portfolios. They each were asked to put together a slide show between 5-10 minutes of their best climbing, and outdoor lifestyle images and each slide show was set to music. The Howe Sound Inn set the stage the place was full and hopping by nightfall. The scene was set for an inspirational set of slide shows. Every segment revealed each photographer's unique and compelling journey through time and the plethora of wild places each photographer has been to. We had a surplus of talent with up and comer Jordan Wright along side local photography legends like Paul Bride, Sandra Studer, Richard Wheater, and Dave Humpreys. Post Slide Show DJ Sheila stole the show and people danced til the wee hours.

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The final three days were looking bleak for actual climbing as it rained hard all week, but the evening entertainment provided by the festival kept the psych high. Thursday night Kevin Maclane gave a grassroots view of the development of climbing in Squamish from the early long routes on the Chief to the recent development of all the boulder problems throughout the Squamish Valley. Will Gadd then gave a fantastic slide show and multimedia presentation on his exploits in all activities, wacky and dangerous, from Paragliding over the Grand Canyon to Ice Climbing in Caves in Sweden and Climbing Ice Bergs in Newfoundland. Then on the final night Tommy Caldwell from the U.S. was supposed to present but he had problems getting over the border due to passport issues. So local guide and big wall aficionado Conny Amelunxen jumped in. He'd just gotten into town the night before from [scuba] guiding in the Galapagos and immediately said "Yeah, sure I'll help you out." "He knew where the money was going," said Ivan Hughes. "It was great to know that there are always world-class speakers in Squamish that you can count on that will step up." Conny gave an amazing presentation of superb images and stories from around the globe and especially on the haunting massifs in Patagonia.

The final touch on a great week of revelry included the Finale Party hosted at the Squamish Adventure Centre. The rain poured outside and the Howe Sound Inn Brewery beer poured inside as climbers and festival goers grooved to the sounds of DJ Andrew Pacey. Huge credit for much of the festival's success goes to the quality of speakers, some of whom doubled as guides for the clinics, and the supportive crowds made all the difference, said Hughes. Many thanks to all that made the festival such a huge success. Tyrone Brett of the Squamish Access Society and Anders Ourom / Rolf Rybak of the Climbers Access Society of B.C. put in a lot of time and energy to support the event. Also "The volunteers were outstanding!" said John Irvine of ARC'TERYX. The event would not have been possible without their support. Again, the Sponsors were amazing and all stepped in to put their unique touches on the festival. Many thanks! Next year's plans are already on the go. We're already looking forward to next year and planning ways to make the festival even better.